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Can You Drive To Hawaii? (All You Need To Know!)

No, you cannot drive to Hawaii – from the US mainland or any nation.

The most obvious reason for this is that the islands of Hawaii are located nearly 3,800 kilometres away from the US, settled amid the Pacific Ocean. So unless you have a car that can travel on water or transforms into a boat like an early 90’s sci-fi movie, then driving is not a realistic option.

That being said you are not without options because Hawaii is one of the top beach destinations in the world. So in this piece, we are going to explore the most accepted and uncommon transport modes available.

Different Ways To Travel To Hawaii

Take a Flight


This one is easy, and also, it’s the only option for some travellers who are finally ticking Hawaii off their holiday bucket list. Flying is what we recommend as well, whether you are heading from the US or any part of the world.

Hawaii currently has five major airports:

  • Oahu – Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL)
  • Maui – Kahului Airport (OGG)
  • Kauai – Lihue Airport (LIH)
  • Big Island – Kona International Airport (KOA)
  • Big Island – Hilo International Airport (ITO)

These airports accept both international and inter-island flights. So if you are travelling to the other islands in Hawaii, you can always land at one of the above-listed airports and take an inter-island flight.

Honolulu is home to the biggest airport right now. It has over 58 airports sending direct flights from around the world – we are looking at approximately 56 global cities and 14 countries. As of now, Hawaii also operates 35 domestic flights to Honolulu.

Fun fact: the current longest flight to Honolulu is from Melbourne. Covering a distance of nearly 5500 kilometres, it’s a non-stop flight that takes approx. 11 hours to land.

If you are travelling from the US, you’ll be happy to know that there is the option of choosing a non-stop flight that operates from the mainland to Hawaii via the below-listed airlines:

  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • Alaska Airlines
  • Southwest Airlines
  • Delta Air Lines
  • American Airlines
  • Sun Country
  • United Airlines

You might be interested in: Can you drive to Alaska?

Take A Cruise

Super Ferry departing Seattle

If not the air, then there’s always the water. While taking a flight seems pretty straightforward, there’s always a little confusion when using a different option. Let’s talk about that.

First – you need to get yourself to the nearest Cruise Departure Port. Most Departure Ports are available along the West Coast, particularly in Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego.

Most cruises last up to 15 days (minimum 7 days), but if you are departing from California, there is a high chance the period will be 15 days. This is because it takes 4-5 days just to reach Hawaii. Returning takes a similar time, so there’re 5 days to enjoy Hawaii as well.

It’s also noteworthy to mention that cruise ships follow a set schedule based on the yearly seasons.

  • Spring Cruises (April – June)

The fares are generally low compared to the other seasons. Ideal weather, warm and sunny. It has all the elements needed to make your beach destination vacation shine. Funnily enough, despite all the positives, it’s also considered to be the off-season. We’d say that this is the best time to cruise to Hawaii.

  • The ultimate Off-peak season (September – mid-December)
    The prices are great, and the weather is just as great – with occasional showers which won’t get in the way of you enjoying your holiday (unless you are having some tragic luck).
  • Family Holiday season (June- August)
    This is because in most (if not all) western regions, schools are closed for the summer vacation. Generally, the weather is incredible, but the price is high to match that.
  • Winter Cruise Season
    Compared to the above, winter cruises tend to be the most expensive. It could also be due to the number of travellers who visit during this global holiday season. The weather is chill with a healthy dose of sun (however, showers are more prevalent during this time).

Fascinatingly enough, Hawaii also has a few cruise lines operating there, like:

  • Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises have itineraries that include the Hawaii Islands

Keep in mind that these cruises have multi-destination itineraries, which means Hawaii is not your one-stop holiday spot.

  • Pride of America is a Norwegian cruise line that offers 8-day cruises around Honolulu (weekly – all year round). Visitors can spend over 100 hours on the islands and the nights on either Kauai or Maui.
  • Princess, Carnival and Holland are the other cruise lines that operate in Hawaii.
    If you are looking for an extended holiday cruise, this is ideal as they offer cruises for 15 days or more.

Take A Boat

Remember, you do have to voyage across the Pacific Ocean – approximately 3,000 kilometres from the mainland.

If you are looking for the ultimate sea adventure, and decide on taking a boat to Hawaii, here are a few things to consider:

  • Research and sail when the Pacific Ocean is the calmest – this falls in May. Avoid late summer times because as sunny as the weather gets, it also brings summer storms.
  • Get the right boat. The recommended size for a boat should roughly be 30-40 feet. Meaning longboats are ideal, since they cut through the water smoothly, overcoming the resistance against choppy waves and steadily keeping speed.
  • A good anchor, so you can safely stop for a rest.
  • Check the weather routinely a few weeks ahead – up to the day of departure, to ensure the weather patterns will not become a risky obstacle to your journey.
  • Ensure to have safety equipment – including a radio and an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB)
  • If you don’t have the necessary experience to steer the boat, please ensure to take people with expertise

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I ship my car to drive in Hawaii?

While you can’t drive to Hawaii, you certainly can drive in Hawaii. You can either rent a vehicle when in Hawaii or have your vehicle shipped to Hawaii. It might be a better option, especially if your stay will be lengthier than a few weeks.

There’re plenty of options when it comes to choosing a transport company that provides that service.

Usually, it can cost you up to 2,000 USD to transport your vehicle to Hawaii from the US alone.

How long will the fastest boat take from the US to Hawaii?

Up to 3 days. But if you are taking a pleasure boat, then it can take roughly 26 days (more or less). Weather conditions can also affect the duration.

What are the basic supplies you’ll need for a boat journey to Hawaii?

Whether you’re departing from Seattle, LA, San Francisco or San Diego – it can take up to 2-3 weeks (with non-stop sailing).

  • Calculate the food you’ll need for the duration,
  • Keep a good water supply (which will be around 3.8 litres daily)
  • Suitable attire (for different weather situations)
  • Medical essentials and repair tools.

Editorially Reviewed By:

Nichola is a writer/editor and a shy foodie who shares a very soft spot for all things travel. She considers herself to be an island girl at heart, and nothing excites her more than learning about new places people can explore and biting into a slice of sweet melon on a hot and sunny day.

She has specialized in travel writing for over 5 years, all the while being a lifelong (die-hard) anime fan!